Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sebastien and Adopted Uncle


Sebastien, one of my parents' chihuahuas, died today. :(

He was 14 years old.

My mom said in the morning he went outside as normal, but when she had returned from work, he was gone.

We've had Sebastien and his sister, Penny, since they were 2 months old.

Sebastien and Penny

I had just finished up a summer internship in Orange County. The internship went really well except that there was a whole lot of driving involved. I got rear-ended in a five-car pile-up on the 55 freeway. I was #4, so I got hit from behind, then slammed into a big old car in the front, which pushed me back again. Eeek!

My dad flew down to drive my car up at the end of the summer. Normally, we drive straight up I-5, but for some reason, my dad wanted to stop off in San Jose to visit his cousin.

There they were. The cutest little chihuahua puppies ever. OK, maybe they looked like little rats. But they were cute little rats. :P They were so tiny they fit in the palm of my hand. Lil' sis and I cradled them on our laps the rest of the drive up.

A few years later, when my ba ngoai (Vietnamese maternal grandmother) was very ill and then passed away, my mom was in Vietnam for months. My dad, who couldn't sleep without my mom beside him, would conk out on the sofa with the doggies curled up on his belly.

1 PDX and My Parents' Chihuahuas 11

Sweet, gentle Sebastien with his placid demeanor.

Day 2 Mom's and Dad's Garden 27

The dogs have never been apart. My mom says Penny wanders aimlessly missing her brother.

Day 2 Mom's and Dad's Garden 35


Immediately after she hung up, my mom called me back and asked if I knew that my adopted uncle in Vietnam had passed away last week?


None of my aunts and uncles down here told me.


Adopted uncle was raised by his ong ngoai (Vietnamese maternal grandfather), who was getting on in years. So his grandfather asked my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) to take him in.

She used to tell me the story of how he found some money in the rice paddy. He gave her the money instead of giving it to his grandfather. She used that money to buy something, which she sold for something else, which helped her buy more things, and so on until she was able to save up enough money to move the family to our small town.

Unfortunately, adopted uncle didn't want to leave Vietnam with the rest of us and stayed behind. I didn't know him well. Just that he liked to write a lot. He'd sit by the front window of my grandmother's house in the country and write pages and pages of stuff. So I tried to send or brought notebooks and boxes of pens for him to do his writing.

I'm always ambivalent about how much to share about the personal on a food blog. But I guess, after enough years, those lines have blurred many times already.

1 year ago today, Eastern Bakery - San Francisco (Chinatown).
2 years ago today, a little rant about Blogging Courtesies: Questions, Comments, and Credit.
3 years ago today, Cherry Lattice-Crust Pie.


  1. I am so sorry to hear that, WC. Prayers to you and your family.

  2. i love you Chi WC. and i'm thinking about you today. hugs.

  3. Awww. This makes me very sad. I have two aging dogs myself and know that their days will soon come to an end. All I can console myself with is the fact that we're all mortal and I know that my dogs will have lived the happiest, most satisfying life I could give them. Besides, I don't think that death is the end of life, we just become a part of the universe...

  4. sorry about that girl. my friend's kitty just died too. sad news all around... :(

  5. I am so sorry for your losses, Chopsticks. It seems like you have such a close family. I have always admired that when reading your blog. My thoughts are with you.

  6. My Dear,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Those puppies are sweet. And your adopted uncle....well, just go to the beach and sit at sunset and contemplate the universe.

  7. So sorry aboout the sad news of your parent's dog and your uncle. Condolences.

  8. I'm sorry your family has had such sadness.

  9. I'm so sorry for the losses you and your family have experienced lately.

    The last pictures of the doggies? That is pure happiness. Content little aging chihuahuas, sitting in the sun together. Precious.

  10. I was just thinking yesterday that I wouldn't keep any pet in the future, because I was dead sad when any of my pets was gone.
    What did your adopted uncle write? Did you get to read any of his writing? Was it published?

  11. DG,
    Thanks sweetie.

    :) *hugs*

    We knew they weren't going to be around much longer, but it still hurts just the same. I'm not even much of an animal person, but they were/are the sweetest little doggies.


    Thank you.

    No deep thoughts from me. Sometimes, I just need space to be a little sad.

    Thank you.

    Scrapper Al,
    Thank you.

    Nightingale Lily,
    Thank you. I love that picture too. They're just sooo sweet.

    I was just thinking that yesterday. I couldn't imagine getting another and going through the sadness all over again and again.

    My uncle wasn't quite right in the head near the end. He just wrote a lot of gibberish numbers and stuff to be honest. But no harm in giving him nice notebooks and pens in which to do his writing.

  12. My condolences. One gets so used to seeing their little doggie faces. And as for your adopted uncle, it really is a beautiful story you shared. I've had those disturbing, upsetting surprises in my family too, along the lines of, oh you didn't know that? I agree completely: :(

  13. ps: that first shot is so charming.

  14. Tammy,
    Thanks. I still get teary when I think of him. Such a sweet, placid doggie. :(

  15. Oh I am SO sorry!

    I am not a rabid PETA type person but MAN! Animals give such pure love. And they do notice and it does hurt them, when one of their "pack" is gone.

    I hope you and your folks find a way to help Penny.

    And may Sebastien be happily chasing squirrels in heaven.

  16. Oddlyme,
    Thank you. For a while, my dad said Penny cried every night. Now, I think she's just sad. :(

    The thought of Sebastien chasing squirrels makes me chuckle since they're pretty much his size. :P


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